Alexander McCall Smith Biography

Alexander McCall Smith is a Rhodesian-born Scottish author and a Medical Law professor. Read this biography to learn more about his childhood, life, works, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 24, 1948

Nationality: Scottish

Famous: Quotes By Alexander McCall Smith Scottish Men

Age: 71 Years, 71 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Virgo

Born in: Bulawayo, Rhodesia

Famous as: British writer

Subscribe to Riddle Puddle


Spouse/Ex-: Elizabeth

children: Emily, Lucy

Continue Reading Below

Subscribe to Riddle Puddle

One of the most popular and prolific authors of the 21st century, Alexander McCall Smith is a much admired literary figure and a Medical Law Professor. One of the leading bestselling authors on the literary scene, he is best known for his detective, mystery series of novels, ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, which has become an international phenomenon. He worked in Africa, where he co-founded and taught law in the University of Botswana. In a career span of over twenty years, he has authored more than 50 books, which include many children’s books, The Sunday Philosophy Club, 44 Scotland Street, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, and Corduroy Mansions - an international bestseller. His novels have gained international acclaim and have been featured on the New York Times bestseller list. Many of his novels have been adapted into television series and radio broadcasts. He has also authored a series of academic works, including, ‘The Criminal Law of Botswana’, which is one of the most important books on the country's legal system.

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Childhood & Early Life
Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

  • In 1984, he published children’s book titled, ‘The Perfect Hamburger and Other Delicious Stories’, which was a collection of three stories, ‘The Perfect Hamburger’, ‘The Spaghetti Tangle’ and ‘The Doughnut Ring’.
  • In 1991, ‘Children of Wax: African Folk Tales’, a collection of a series of 27 short stories was published. It was inspired from the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe.
  • In 1997, he came out with the short comic novel titled, ‘Portuguese Irregular Verbs’, which is a part of his ‘Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment’ series of books. This novel had eight chapters.
  • Published in 1999, ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’, the first of his series of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, was based on the murder of a 14 year old girl in Mochudi, Botswana.
  • In 2000, he published the second instalment of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, titled ‘Tears of the Giraffe’. The novel’s main protagonist detective ‘Mma Precious Ramotswe’ investigates a paternity case and the case of an American woman’s missing son.
  • In 2001, he published the third book of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, titled, ‘Morality for Beautiful Girls’. The plot revolves around mysterious orphans and ‘Mma Precious Ramotswes’ laid back fianc�.
  • In 2002, he came out with ‘The Kalahari Typing School for Men’, which is the fourth book of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series. The novel deals with ‘The Molefelo Case’ and ‘The Selelipeng Case’.
  • Published in 2003, ‘The Full Cupboard of Life’ is the fifth of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, which won the Saga Award for ‘wit’. In this novel, Mma Precious Ramotswe helps a wealthy woman choose a suitor.
  • In 2004, he published the first novel of his ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series, titled ‘The Sunday Philosophy Club’. The book received mixed reviews from book critics.
    Continue Reading Below
  • In 2004, he also published, ‘In the Company of Cheerful Ladies’, which was the sixth novel from the ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series. The plot revolves around a married ‘Mma Precious Ramotswe’ and her husband who are troubled from past shadows.
  • In 2005, he came out with the novel, ‘Friends, Lovers, Chocolate’, which was the second book in the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series. The book did not receive good reviews and was criticised for its slow pace.
  • In 2006, he published the third of the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series of novels, ‘The Right Attitude to Rain’, which received positive reviews. His seventh installment from ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, ‘Blue Shoes and Happiness’ was also released the same year.
  • In 2007, he published his eighth of ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series novel, ‘The Good Husband of Zebra Drive’ and also published the fourth book of the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’ series of novels - ‘The Careful Use of Compliments’.
  • In 2009, he published his first online novel titled, ‘Corduroy Mansions’. This online edition enabled readers to interact with each other and the author.
  • His upcoming book, from ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series, titled ‘The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon’ will be published in 2013.
Major Works
  • ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series is one of his best known works, which has sold over 20 million copies. The series became an international phenomenon and was adapted into a TV series by the BBC and HBO. It was also dramatized for BBC Radio 4.
  • ‘Corduroy Mansions’ is an international bestselling series of novels which was featured on the New York Times bestseller list. The series was also declared one of the ‘International Books of the Year and the Millennium’ by the Times Literary Supplement.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 2004, he received the British Book Awards.
  • In 2007, he received the ‘Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ for his contributions in the field of literature.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In 1982, he married Elizabeth Parry, a physician, and the couple have two daughters - Lucy and Emily. They live together in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • He also enjoys playing the bassoon, a musical instrument, and is the co-founder of ‘The Really Terrible Orchestra’, a British amateur orchestra group.
  • This acclaimed Scottish author is a tea lover and never leaves home without his teapot.

See the events in life of Alexander McCall Smith in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Alexander McCall Smith Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- November 01, 2017
Alexander McCall Smith

People Also Viewed

Margaret Atwood
Douglas Adams
(American, British)

(Ancient Roman)
Caroline Kennedy
James Wright
Brendan Behan